Earlier this month, Fox produced a 30-second promos for each of the 14 Big Ten football programs, meant to promote the new partnership between the network and the conference. The Ohio State spot focused on the Buckeyes’ logo-free helmets, the Indiana ad described the Hoosiers as “more than a feel good story,” the Penn State version featured a “sea of white” theme, etc.

But the promo that seems to have caused the most stir was that of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The clip, apparently inspired by the Stephen King thriller “Children of the Corn,” informs you that Nebraska is full of corn “for miles and miles and miles,” then depicts Cornhusker players making a cult-like sacrifice in the middle of a cornfield.

Whether due to the sacrifice intimation or the suggestion that the state is nothing more than a giant meadow of corn stalks, the Cornhuskers athletic department is less than pleased with the promo. Via the Omaha World Herald:

NU athletics didn’t have prior knowledge of the promotion’s content, said a Nebraska athletic department spokesman, and has requested Fox no longer run the promotion. Once the season begins, Fox will use more straightforward promotions for upcoming games.

“It’s not really the direction we want the brand to go in,” said David Witty, senior associate athletic director for marketing and communications. Witty said Nebraska is happy to collaborate with Fox on promotional ideas in the future. Witty said he doesn’t think the ad will run on TV, but it lives on Twitter.

Nebraska granted Fox permission to use the school’s uniforms in the ad, so the athletic department obviously wasn’t entirely blindsided, but you can see why they didn’t love where Fox took the spot. If you were trying to recruit teenagers to your school, you probably wouldn’t want to spread the idea that the place was a creepy cult surrounded by acres upon acres of nothing.

The Big Ten promos overall seem to have been a bit hit-or-miss. It’s kind of hard to figure who OK’d this spot about the different ways Minnesotans can literally murder you.

We applaud Fox’s creativity and ambition with these promos. We really do. But maybe giving the teams a little input next time wouldn’t hurt.

[Omaha World Herald]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.